Dwarfed by the gargantuan terraces of sloping mountains around it, Isafjordur hangs on to a spit that rolls out into the scenic fjord waters of the Skutulsfjörður. A population of 2,600 calls this remote, beautiful location in the Westfjords Peninsula home. The setting is colossal and otherworldly, with plunging mountains and gouged fjords jutting inland, but there's a lively feel in town, with an abundance of cafes and restaurants dotted between pretty, half-timber houses.
Built on the waters of a deep natural harbour, sea-faring and fishing is written into the DNA here. Delve into these central traditions at the Maritime Museum, before getting a taste for Icelandic specialities like the divisive delicacy of fermented shark meat. Rich, troll-inspired folklore and feisty festivals add even more colour and intrigue throughout the year – from mud football mayhem to cross country skiing exhibitions.
A place to get active and involved, hook fish from the frozen depths while ice fishing, strap on skis in powder-coated mountains, or crack golf balls along rolling courses while soaking in the gorgeous scenery. The wedding-veil falls of Tungudalur Valey Waterfall are close by, splashing down the blackened rocks. Further afield, Hornstrandir Nature Reserve's emerald marshes and wildflower sprinkled cliffs make for a refreshing shock of colour amid Iceland's moody, brooding monochrome palette. Excellent birdlife is waiting offshore on Vigur Island, where puffins and arctic terns chatter, and traditional farming traditions are kept alive.